An Interview With Darlene Gentry Lucas

Darlene Gentry Lucas is a watercolorist and art instructor; her joie de vivre is readily evident in both pursuits! It was a treat to have the chance to hear her responses to a few of my questions.   ~Scott Burnett

Scott:   What is the most important material you use to make your art?

Darlene:   Daniel Smith Granulating Watercolors.

Scott:   What are your preferred painting surfaces?

Darlene:   I love both hot and cold press paper. Cold press is more forgiving. But, when I’m painting and emphasizing my “marks”, then I like hot press because it is so immediate. But always, I love Arches paper. It takes a lot of abuse.

Scott:   What techniques have you developed that have proven to be essential to your art-making process?

Darlene:   Since graduate school I have used sketchbooks to record ideas and make sketches. I usually have one 8x10 sketchbook full for each year.

Scott:   What keeps you so dedicated to your sketchbook practice?

Darlene:   Sketchbooks have been part of my life since my undergraduate days. In graduate school, my professors continued to encourage me to use them. They are the repository for sketches, watercolor formulas, notes from workshops, photographs from the Hubbell or Kepler Observatories-anything that interests me. I carry a sketchbook everywhere. I’m never bored. There’s always something to read or sketch. Later, when I want to think about an idea for a painting, my sketchbook is a very personal resource.

Scott:   Are you currently adding any new techniques to your repertoire?

Darlene:   I am always experimenting with sand, salts and granulating watercolors.

Scott:   What is your favorite art-tool at this time?

Darlene:   A bridge. I have a genetic tremor called Essential Tremor and the bridge helps steady my hand.
My other favorite “tool” is my travel kit. It includes a small paint set, zipit bag, travel brush, small watercolor block, sketchbook and Faber-Castell triangular pencils.

Scott:   Is there a particular reason you use triangular pencils?

Darlene: I could tell you it’s because they don’t roll off the table, which is true. But, I think the real reason is the grip is more stable.

Scott:   Where do you look for inspiration?

Darlene:   Everywhere! But most specifically, I find inspiration in past and present-day theories of Physics and Astronomy. I’m not a scientist, but science is my stimulus.

Scott:   Fascinating! Do you have any favorite tutors or “tour guides” in those disciplines?

Darlene:   Brian Greene and Lisa Randall; I love the clarity they bring to physics.

Scott:   Which artists are influencing you right now?

Darlene:   Joseph Raffael for the liquid beauty of his watercolors.  Mark Mehaffey for his strong composition, especially in his abstractions.  Katherine Chang Liu for the timeless quality of her paintings. And for her enthusiasm and her support.

Scott:   How would you describe the art you’ve chosen to bring into your living space?

Darlene:   I like to collect local artists. Lynn Scott, Janis Graves, Barb Childs, Joyce Donaldson, Kathy Rinaldi, Mary Bess Johnson, Sue Robertson, Alice Owen, Tracy Fraker, Molly Winton… a wide variety!

Scott:   What would you love to add to your collection?

Darlene:   I would like to own work by Joan Archer and Nancy Thompson.